last chance for a feast of fennels!

The Umbels are Up! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

A Feast of Fennels Umbels at Sierra Azul Gardens will be coming down soon. If you’d like to transplant these sculptures into your garden – now is your chance!

There are four flowers available in varying sizes, the height of the flower stems can be made custom for your space. Free local installation, feel free to contact me with questions!

Visit Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden at:

2660 East Lake Avenue (Highway 152)
Watsonville, CA 95076
Across from the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds

Open Daily from 10 – 5

inspiration revisited

A million years ago, I was making a lot of insect inspired works, like this bee inspired one which bounced when you touched the metal rods. We had just moved into the redwood forest and I think I was inspired by some of the critters that made their way into our home. I made small abstract critters using a combination of clay, copper, steel and wire mesh and loved getting the heavy clay bodies to stand on tiny wire legs. (which is not dissimilar to my current medusa sculptures!)

I also remember making a small installation of abstracted bugs with wire wings that were installed to look like a small swarm in flight. I think there was maybe a dozen of them and I remember wanting to make hundreds of them but for some reason didn’t. I haven’t thought about that piece in forever and I couldn’t even find any documentation of it.

Now, living in the desert, I’m surrounded by the weirdest critters, like stick bugs, trap-door spiders and praying mantis. Just the other day, a wild bee hive on our property swarmed and I watched it throughout the day as they left the hive in controlled chaos, clustered on a nearby tree for a few hours and then in perfect timing they all took off to their new home.

Even though I hadn’t thought about that little installation in years, the bee swarm made me realize that it was time to make that installation of hundreds a reality. I’m not sure of the details, but I’m excited to make some abstract bugs that will swarm somewhere on the property. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places but somehow insects always hold a place in my heart!

what are you working on?

I get asked a lot, what are you working on in the studio? And right now, it’s not really on new work, those ideas are always there and brewing, so don’t worry, I will circle back to them soon enough. But instead, I’ve been making parts for my studio. I’m planning on gates for the entrances to our property that will have metal framed rectangular structure to them, but will incorporate pieces from my Bone Series into the open panels of the metal structure. It will look similar to the way I filled this arbor space at a past exhibit, but the gates will be broken up into smaller framed sections and it will also be slightly denser with wire cables and ceramic elements to be functional in keeping all the critters on the appropriate sides of the fence. I’ve been working on the parts for the gates, which turns out to be a lot of square footage of area to cover, so a lot of parts!

I also wanted to make custom sconces for the outdoor lights of the studio, I have three made that are in the traditional shape of Mexican clay sconce lights, but designed with my aesthetic of hole pattern carvings, these will hang on the long stretch of the patio area. I plan on making two more that will be larger circular versions for the front walls.

Right now, I’m filling up the shelves with all of these raw clay parts since my kilns can’t run on the solar system since they draw WAY too much power. Instead, they will need to be hooked up to a large generator to run properly and we are still researching the right generator for the job. But soon enough, we will have the kilns running, all the work fired up, and I’ll get these custom works installed.

While we are definitely working hard on projects to get the studio and land functional and beautiful, we are still taking time to enjoy where we are.

beauty of ephemera

Went back up to Taller de Terreno to check my big piece which has been exposed to the elements on the roof for just over a week now. The acacia wood tendrils have dried from green to brown and I got some pics of some beautiful cracking in the clay starting to happen.

Being in the full sun, the piece is drying quickly causing the clay to contract unevenly, leading to the cracks, which of course was the whole point of this ephemeral piece. I love how beautiful these crack lines are and wonder where the tension point is for the piece to no longer be stable.

Come see the changes in this piece for yourself at the closing event Saturday April 6th from 4 – 7pm at

Taller de Terreno | Las Playitas | Todos Santos | BCS

first art show in Mexico is in the books!

Big thank you to all who came out to see this exhibit and gave kind words about my work, it was wonderful meeting so many new people. If you missed it, it was a beautiful afternoon overlooking the desierto y el mar and eventually watching the sun set. Here’s a few pics to inspire you to come out on Saturday April 6th for the closing of this exhibit…

I managed to get four cinderblocks and 20 buckets of rocks up onto the roof to create a level pedestal for my piece. Then we hauled all 100lbs of my sculpture, out of my studio, drove it up the road and carried it up onto the roof and somehow, it all worked out beautifully. My goal was to get the piece to silhouette against the sky and I think that was pretty successful. The acacia branches I inserted into the end of the work, moved and bounced in the wind. And with the blazing sun, we even got some small cracking starting to happen as the raw clay dried rapidly. It will be interesting to see its state by the time of the closing of the show.

A few of the other talented artists’ work in this exhibition…

this weekend!

Excited to setup my ephemeral site specific piece on the roof of this gorgeous structure in the middle of the desert! Join us for an afternoon of art and mezcal sipping followed by panoramic views of sun set on the ocean.

Saturday March 16th from 4 – 7

Taller de Terreno | Las Playitas | Todos Santos

Learn more here…

Going big…

When given the opportunity to create a piece for the event ABC Art Baja 24 with the Cascabel Mountain Collective, I knew that I couldn’t create a fired work. There just wasn’t the time or resources but I embraced the idea of making an ephemeral piece for the the green roof of the main house designed by Taller de Terreno Arquitectura. The house is the vision of Kevin Wickham and is a cast in place concrete structure of angles and grandeur all the while it is quietly hidden in the desert landscape. The sculpture is responding to the house’s shapes and angles while also responding to the desert landscape in which is resides.

I created a small model in clay of my sculptural form and then scaled it up in cardboard. Using the cardboard model as a template, I created large scale panels in clay that dried enough to hold their form and be attached together. Getting the clay dry enough to hold its shape and still wet enough to be modified while taking the desert climate into the equation makes for a tricky balancing act. While building this piece, I realized that it is probably the largest single item I’ve made. And the reason I’ve never attempted to make something this big is that it simply wouldn’t have fit in my kiln, so it’s kind of a why bother. But on the flip side, it’s liberating to make a piece that will be ephemeral and kiln size isn’t an issue and just to challenge my skills to see if I can actually do it. And I did.

We still need to transport it from my studio, up the hill, and onto the roof. And I need to attach the rods that will move in the wind. And we will see how it degrades with wind and moisture, so there is still a lot of uncertainty but that is also what I love most about this process.

Sculpture Gardens Shine in Winter

This time of year on the central coast of California, flower gardens are pretty lack luster with winter storms and seasonal changes, but this is the best time of year for your sculpture garden to shine! When everything else is dormant, the colors and textures of sculptural works in your garden bring life to these spaces. Not only will it add visually vibrancy to the space but it is proven that engaging with art enhances positive emotions and tickles the reward pathways of our brains.

So if you’re needing a little color in your garden and/or a little more inspiration to get through the darker days of winter, head over to Sierra Azul Gardens in Watsonville. There are dozens of sculptural works that are wintering over from the Sculpture IS: exhibit in their demonstration gardens and many of these works are waiting to be transplanted into your garden. My four fennel flower inspired pieces are there and need to find a happy garden to live in. The height of these pieces can be modified for your space, they are simple to install and will add color and texture to any garden!